Anybody that is concerned with global warming and general environmental problems should probably prefer a vegan diet. Apparently animal agriculture is responsible for a greater share of greenhouse gases generated than all transportation combined. In addition the rain forest, one of our major carbon sinks, is being cleared to create pasture for feeding livestock. This is major havoc. It's like we're burning the candle at both ends.
The other side of it is the animal suffering. One of the recommendations I keep seeing on Netflix is called "Earthlings". Apparently it's a movie that depicts the horrors of the slaughterhouse and humanity's general treatment of animals to produce food. I can't bring myself to watch it. I have to admit that if I can't even bring myself to watch the actions that are taken to meet the demand I create when I purchase meat and dairy I need to make an effort to not make these purchases.
Maybe what has held me back to this point is my belief that you need it for good health. I used to do a quasi hi-protein diet called The Zone. Not as high as Atkins, but perhaps higher than what a typical American would eat. Information related to this diet helped develop in me a sufficient fear of diabetes. Diabetes comes about from the consumption of sugar. Or so I thought.
Ultimately I abandoned the diet because though I did lose some weight it caused me to feel physically weak. I upped my carbs and my strength returned. Since then I haven't really had a consistent diet plan, except a general struggle to avoid junk food.
My sister recently recommended a movie called "What the Health" which is also on Netflix. I took a look at it. I realized once I started watching it that I had started it before. But when I saw the claim that sugar does not cause diabetes I turned it off. It seemed too outlandish. But this time since my sister had asked for my opinion on it I watched it all the way through. It claimed that diabetes is not just prevented with a vegan diet, it can be reversed. I had always thought once you have diabetes you are stuck with it. You just have to manage it. The movie made all kinds of claims about people improving their health with a vegan diet.
I did what I often do when I encounter information like this. I started looking for criticism. I looked into the controversial claims. Links like this one seem to admit that it really isn't sugar that causes diabetes, but general obesity. If eating sugar leads to weight gain (maybe your sugar comes in the form of donuts) you can get diabetes that way, but you don't really get it from apples and oranges. Here's a critic of the film in the NY Times. They argue that being vegan doesn't guarantee a better result because it's possible to eat very unhealthy vegan food (duh). They point out that any amount of reduction in consumption of animal products is beneficial, so you don't have to go all the way as this film advises. This is portrayed like it's evidence the movie is mistaken. Doesn't that in fact support the thesis of the movie? Very strange.
I'm not pretending I know what the truth is based on my limited research, but my thinking is I'll give it a shot. If it works for me, then great. I'm reducing animal suffering and environmental damage. If it doesn't work I'll have to adjust.
I've been doing it for a week and a half now. I notice a couple of bonuses already. My resting heart rate has dropped, from high 60's to now high 50's. And I haven't been doing any cardio. I have also lost a few pounds. This is also at least partly if not mostly due to intermittent fasting. That's another diet method that I'm convinced is good for you that I started about 3 weeks ago. The other bonus is I'm usually quite sore when I do certain physical activities that involve muscles I haven't used in a while. I've had a couple of instances where I was sure I would be extremely sore the next day, but I wasn't.
I do have a physical coming up in a couple of months so I'll continue to monitor. Honestly I hadn't been expecting massive improvement as I had already been functioning as quasi-vegetarian. Generally I was eating meat when I was involved in an event where food was prepared for a group, but I wasn't preparing or ordering meat when it was just me. So I was eating meat only lightly, but also consuming dairy regularly. Now I'm all in, so we'll see if this produces health benefits. Benefits are not even required. As long as I feel no worse off this is the way to go for me.